Book Review: One of Us is Lying


Author Karen M. McManus holds up her copy of One of Us is Lying. Her book has been on the New York Times Best Sellers List in the category Young Adult Hardcover for 160 weeks.

Marlee Sorrells, Editor-in-Chief

       Karen M. McManus’ book, One of Us is Lying, has a The Breakfast Club type feel when four completely different students find themselves connected together in a way that doesn’t easily break. After the death of a classmate while in detention, they face police investigating their lives in the hopes of finding out what happened to the young boy. However, the boy wasn’t just another student, he owned a gossip blog about students in the school and had made enemies through his posts. When he died, the four students that were with him in detention each had an upcoming post about them that would reveal to the world their deepest secret. While written in multiple point-of-views, this book is a classic who-done-it mystery that follows the same troupes, but pulls in a modernity to it that is both familiar and somehow not what is expected.

       When I read One of Us is Lying a few years back, I didn’t expect much from it because I hadn’t heard anything about it. Once I started reading, I was completely sucked into Bayview and ended up reading it in a day. Her writing in the book makes her a modern queen of who-done-it novels, much like Agatha Christie was during her time. I haven’t found a modern writer who emulates McManus’ writing style and how she walks through each point of view so smoothly and presents environments so well. Fittingly, her inspiration to write her debut novel was The Breakfast Club, after hearing “Don’t You” play on the radio. Her main characters follow similar stereotypes to those in the John Hughes movie. Bronwyn is the straight-A student, Cooper is the star athlete, Nate is the criminal, and Addy is the popular good girl. As of now, McManus has four books written similarly, with a Ferris Bueller’s Day Off inspired novel to come out in the fall. 

       Based on the unmatched writing style, interesting perspectives, and a very surprising plot twist, I give One of Us is Lying a 10/10.